Joe Biden giving a speech in North Carolina, June 2021The US has launched air strikes against an Iran-backed militia on the Iraq-Syria border.

Sunday’s strikes hit “operational and weapons storage facilities”, in response to drone attacks on US forces, the Pentagon said in a statement. President Joe Biden “will act to protect US personnel”, it added. The Pentagon did not provide any information on casualties. But a monitoring group said five militant fighters were killed.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights several more militants were wounded in Syria “in an attack by US warplanes”. Syrian state news agency Sana meanwhile reported that a child had died and at least three other people were wounded, AFP said. This is the second round of air strikes President Biden has authorised against Iran-backed militias since taking office in January.

US forces based in Iraq have been hit several times in recent months by drone attacks. Iran has denied any involvement. About 2,500 US troops are based in the country as part of an international coalition fighting the jihadist Islamic State (IS) group.

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